September 23, 2018

The Heart on the Fence

Tucked in the trees along the creek behind our neighborhood is an old historic cemetery that dates back to the 1850’s. One of the walking routes I enjoy takes me past this old cemetery and I always slow down when I arrive there to enjoy the view and serenity.

I used to regularly walk in there and read the headstones and enjoy the wildflowers that graced each season. I don’t go in as much anymore because I have seen a bobcat and coyote hanging out there. If I do enter the gate, I thoroughly look from one side to the other and from front to back just in case I am not alone. And I leave the gate open…

Recently though, as I approached this beautiful cemetery, I noticed there was a trailing vine on the chain link fence that looked like a heart, and I stopped to take its picture.

The longer I gazed at the heart on the fence the more it made me smile. I also felt like the heart was smiling back at me. It definitely drew me in and as I continued to observe it I saw more than a random heart-shaped formation. I saw God’s hand tracing His love for me, a reminder in the middle of my walk that He loves me. He wrote it across a chain link fence.

I am a writer. I will admit to having a big imagination. I am also reading the Old Testament in my Bible and recently read again about God writing the commandments on stone tablets. I think He can draw a heart on a fence that speaks right to my very own beating heart and declare, “Kathy, right now, I want you to know—I love you.”

Yes, God will find a thousand ways to show you and tell you He loves you. Open your eyes and open your heart. You will see it because He will show you. He wants us to know He loves us. 

Jeremiah 31:3 Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.

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Author of A Vow to Cherish and Reason to Breathe, Deborah Raney
I will post their written endorsements with next week’s post.
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September 16, 2018

Start with JOY!

Nehemiah 8:10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Shortly after waking up this morning, while still rubbing the fog out of my eyes and reaching out to pet our cat that had just jumped on the bed, these words suddenly came to me. The joy of the Lord is your strength!

Words said by Nehemiah to the Israelite people who had returned to their land from captivity to rebuild the walls around the ravaged city of Jerusalem. He declared these words following the reading of the Law (Nehemiah 8:1-11) to the people by Ezra after the wall had been rebuilt under his leadership and God’s guidance.

My waking thoughts were not focused on the totality of detailed events in the book of Nehemiah. My thoughts were focused on the word JOY as it sprung into my heart! When I woke up, my thoughts turned to the Lord and the joy I have in Him!

What a great way to start a day with this focus on the Joy of the Lord! And, this verse also declares this joy equals strength!

Nehemiah had fully experienced firsthand God being his strength for the daunting task of rebuilding the walls. So when he says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength,” he could genuinely attest to this truth for he had just lived it out.

Are you living out this truth? Is God your joy? Is He your strength? May your joy and strength be found in Him today!